The Jane Austen Festival, Bath


The Jane Austen Festival, Bath

Who is Jane Austen?

Born on 16 December 1775 in Stevenson and died on 18 July 1817 in Winchester, Jane Austen is one of the greatest figures of 18th-century English literature. Little celebrated in her lifetime, she is now known throughout the world, particularly for Pride and Prejudice, her most popular novel.

 

What is the Jane Austen Festival?

The Jane Austen Festival is an annual event held in September in the city of Bath. It is the largest and longest running Jane Austen Festival in the world. The first festival in 2001 was a weekend event at The Jane Austen Centre. It has evolved into a ten-day programme, attracting over 3500 people from all corners of the world.

The festival begins with the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade. This tradition has been filling the streets of Bath with over 500 participants in Regency costumes since 2004. This event proudly holds the Guinness World Record for the 'Largest gathering of people dressed in Regency costumes’. The scenic Georgian setting of Bath transports visitors back to the era of Jane Austen.

What is the Jane Austen Festival 2023 programme?

Throughout the ten days of the festival, you'll be able to enjoy events inspired by the timeless works of Jane Austen: guided walks, costume balls, theatre performances, lectures and much more! We've listed the main festival events for you! You can find the full programme on the event website.

 

Guided tours

  • The 5 Crescents of Bath

While the Royal Crescent is well-known, there are many other fascinating crescents in Bath waiting to be explored. Discover these places thanks to this walking tour. The meeting point is outside the main door of Bath Abbey.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 1 - Bath Abbey

  • Jane Austen's Bath

Discover the picturesque outdoor locations described in Jane Austen's Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. This three-hour walking and driving tour includes visits to charming places such as Charlcombe. The visit ends with the most splendid view of Bath from the famous Noble Hill. The starting point is outside the Jane Austen Centre.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 8 - Queen Square

  • Carriages to Meryton & Longbourn

The guided tour begins with a drive around Austen's Bath, followed by a visit to St Mary and St Ethelbert's Church in Luckington. The next stop is Lacock, a village frozen in time and the filming location for Meryton & Highbury. Finally, enjoy magnificent views over Bath from Noble Hill. The starting point is outside the Jane Austen Centre.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 8 - Queen Square

  • Jane Austen & Bath

Through her family connections and personal experiences of visiting and living in the city, Austen had an intimate knowledge of Bath. Join a captivating guided walking tour which will take you deeper into Austen's relationship with Bath.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 8 - Queen Square

Talks

  • Draw back the Curtain

Join Jane Tapley, the Special Events Organiser at the Theatre Royal, for an illustrated talk on the theatre during the Georgian era and its impact on Jane Austen's literary masterpieces. The talk will be held at Bath's Georgian theatre, constructed in 1805, which coincides with the year Austen bid farewell to Bath and embarked on the delights of Clifton.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 7 - Westgate Buildings or at stop 8 - Queen Square

  • Austen's Arcadia

Jane Tapley traces the remarkable journey of one of the most influential early women writers of the eighteenth century. Discover the intimate aspects of her life as an unmarried clergyman's daughter, her quest for independence and the challenges she faced. Discover how her literary works grew in stature and admiration, even after her death. The event takes place in the foyer of the Theatre Royal.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 7 - Westgate Buildings or at stop 8 - Queen Square

 

Promenades

  • Grand Regency Costumed Promenade

To participate, simply buy your wristband and put on your Regency costume. Over 500 people will be elegantly dressed for this famous and magnificent official opening of the festival. Embark on a delightful one-hour stroll through the picturesque town. The meeting point is in front of the Holburne Museum.

How to get there?

Green route: Hop off at stop E - Great Pulteney Street/Holburne Museum

  • Mini Promenade

Take part in a relaxed and leisurely stroll from the Royal Crescent down Gravel Walk, Milsom Street and Stall Street. The final destination is the majestic Bath Abbey. This event is free.

How to get there?

Green route: Hop off at stop 10 - Brock Street

Balls

  • Meryton Assembly Ball

Discover the joys of Regency dancing, card playing and conviviality, all accompanied by live music. The Grand Octagon will host card games. The tea room will be available for guests to enjoy their own food during the dinner break.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 9 - Assembly Rooms

  • Jane Austen's Ball - Narrated Performance

Embark on a captivating journey into the Regency ballroom with the Jane Austen Dancers. The event takes place at St Swithin's Church.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 9 - Assembly Rooms

 

Other events

  • Croquet Game

Discover the Regency sport of "Pall-Mall" by playing an enjoyable game of outdoor croquet at Bath Croquet Club.

How to get there?

Green route: Hop off at stop D - Laura Fountain or at stop E - Great Pulteney Street/Holburne Museum

  • A Very Private Public Breakfast

Appreciate the delights of a public breakfast from the 18th Century, just as Jane Austen experienced it in Sydney Gardens.

How to get there?

Green route: Hop off at stop E - Great Pulteney Street/Holburne Museum or at stop F - Beckford Road

  • An Evening of Austen Delights

Indulge in a delectable and opulent assortment of High Tea treats, topped off with a traditional pudding. This delicious experience is accompanied by sparkling bubbles and highly entertaining interpretations of Austen.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 8 - Queen Square

  • Regency Games Night

Experience a delightful late-night evening filled with Regency games, just as Jane Austen herself enjoyed them. Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of cup & ball and spillikins, two games at which Jane Austen was particularly adept.

How to get there?

Red route: Hop off at stop 1 - Bath Abbey

 

Discover Bath at your own pace with our self-guided walking tours, accessible on the Tootbus app through the Tootwalk feature. Discover the city's iconic sites, while enjoying the freedom to set your own itinerary and explore at your leisure.